Monday, 05 July 2021 13:07

Vusal Huseynov, Chief of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan: We strive to provide services in the most convenient way

Caspian Energy (CE): Migration is undoubtedly one of the worst-hit areas by the COVID 19 pandemic. What measures does the State Migration Service take in this regard?

Vusal Huseynov, Chief of the State Migration Service of the Republic of Azerbaijan: It is noteworthy that the creation of the Operational Headquarters under the Cabinet of Ministers by the order of the President before the first case of infection was registered in Azerbaijan, made it possible to ensure proper ma­nagement and communication in those conditions, as well as flexible decision-making in the field of migration ma­nagement.

During this period, Azerbaijan’s mig­ration policy was based on promoting the use of electronic services, strengthening communication and expanding cooperation with all participants in the migration process. E-services have been updated since the first days of the pandemic, their number increased, and administrative procedures were simplified. The State Migration Service ensured provision of all services in electronic form. Foreigners, businessmen and other participants in the migration process received information about innovations, applied in the administrative practice, through all possible media sources, including social networks. Foreigners and stateless persons can also use the services provided by the State Migration Service through the MigAz mobile application.

In 2020, an 8.5-fold increase was seen in the number of electronic requests regarding migration services. Currently, we simultaneously offer services both in electronic form and through service points. As a result of measures taken to improve electronic services and promote the use of them, the trend towards receiving services in electronic form is constantly growing. We strive to provide services in the most convenient way. Of course, we take into account the opinions of users to improve our work. These opinions are received in various ways - through citizens’ appeals, the Advisory Council, the Public Council, social networks, 919 Call Center, reports from international partners, performance evaluation, etc.

 

CE: What could you say about the feedback of users? Are you satisfied with the assessment of performance of the State Migration Service?

Vusal Huseynov: The feedbacks  are generally positive, which gives us an additional incentive to continue what we started. Of course, there are issues that still have to be worked on a lot. In this regard, we consider external evaluations to be very valuable. There are many reports on the activities of the Service, some of which I would like to tell you about.

According to the results of the assessment on the “ASAN Services Index”, aimed at improving the efficiency and quality of public services, for the past three years the State Migration Service has been achieving the highest results among the central government agencies.

In addition, in the latest Global Competitiveness Report published by the Davos Economic Forum, Azerbaijan was ranked third in terms of “ease of hiring foreign labour”. In the EU’s traditional “Business Climate Report Azerbaijan” our migration policy was also among the top five indicators of the business environment over the past two years. The “Foreign Business in Azerbaijan Report 2020” published by the German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce is also thinking positively of such lines of the State Mig­ration Service activity as optimization of e-services, building of beneficial partnership with the private sector and ensuring of transparent migration regime.

Presentation of the 5th international Caspian Business Award prize to the State Migration Service for its particular contribution to the government-to-business dialogue was another important result for us. The award was given according to the results of the poll held among 1,500 companies by the Caspian Energy Club at the end of the last year.

The opinions on our work, and the assessments of civil society institutions and representatives of the private sector, received during meetings held within the framework of the Public and Advisory Councils of the Service, are of great importance for achieving these successes.

Undeniable is the role of both internal assessment mechanisms, such as the ASAN Services Index, and reports on migration services improvement from international partners. We intend to continue working closely with organizations that evaluate our activities, studying issues of concern in the business environment, and building our work accor­dingly.

 CE: You mentioned cooperation with international partners. Can you tell us more about this? What steps is the State Migration Service taking in this area? What results were achieved in the past?

Vusal Huseynov: The transnational nature of migration processes determines the dependence of the success of any related policy on bilateral, regional and international cooperation. Accor­dingly, the expansion and strengthening of effective international cooperation was identified as one of the main lines of the State Migration Service activities.

In the past, the Service has achieved a number of important results in this area. In February 2020, Azerbaijan was elected a member of the Steering Group of the Glo­bal Forum on Migration and Development - the largest international institution in the field of migration in terms of the number of its members and the sphere of influence. At the same time, in July 2020, the UN Network on Migration was created in Azerbaijan with the aim to implement the “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” adopted by 152 UN member states, including our country.

One of the most important events that took place in Azerbaijan and concerned the expansion of the international coo­peration in the field of migration was the signing of the Agreement on the status of the ICMPD in the Republic of Azerbaijan between the International Center for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan on March 17 this year. Thus, along with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration, the number of international organizations represented in Azerbaijan in the field of migration has reached three.

The agreements concluded in recent years between the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republics of Belarus and Kazakhstan, as well as Turkmenistan, and the Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Kingdom of Belgium have created more favorable conditions for effective bilateral cooperation in the field of migration. A good example of such cooperation is the entry into force of the mutual visa-free regime agreement with the fraternal Republic of Turkey and the creation of the possibility of travelling with identification documents.

In general, the expansion of international partnerships lets us implement new projects and improve migration management.

 CE: What projects is the State Migration Service currently working on, what are its further goals, and how do you assess the work carried out to achieve these goals?

Vusal Huseynov: Our people are enjoying the proudest period in their history with the liberation of our occupied lands by the Armed Forces  of the Republic of Azerbaijan under the leadership of the victorious Supreme Commander-in-Chief Ilham Aliyev.

This glorious victory in the patriotic war has created new opportunities for strengthening stability, security in the region, socio-economic development of the country and the expansion of trade relations, as well as migration.

The State Migration Service, in its turn, will undertake all measures in accordance with the lines of its activities, required to support socio-economic development in the territories liberated from the occupation, attract foreign investment to these regions, build and develop migration processes in accordance with the necessities of the time.

The State Migration Service will continue to closely cooperate and develop a fruitful dialogue with the private sector and international partners.

At present, together with the International Organization for Migration, the Service is implementing the “Support to the establishment of a regional training cen­ter on migration in Azerbaijan” project. The first international training, attended by migration officials from more than 10 countries, has been recently held in the framework of the project. With the creation of a training center, Azerbaijan can become one of the regional “think tanks” in the field of migration.

The promotion of digitalization and the establishment of fruitful cooperation and effective communication with all participants in the migration process, including the private sector, remain the main priorities of the Service. Applied in the near future will be the principles of “zero paper” and “zero contact” in all types of services, as well as in the internal management of the State Migration Service. In addition, measures will be taken to improve the level of services provided, optimize opera­tions and ensure full transparency.

Of course, it is impossible to call all projects and goals, but we are generally interested in organizing migration ma­nagement and migration regime based on innovative approaches that promote legal migration and support foreign investment and sustainable socio-economic development, taking into account national interests and security. The existing material and technical base and the intellectual potential of the State Migration Service makes it possible to implement new projects in the two main important areas of migration (emigration and immigration) and achieve new successes.

 

Thankyoufortheinterview

 

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